(apologies for length and lack of editing in this post.)
San Antonio, TX-
Man, what a great time. Danny was such a host. He made me feel at home almost instantly. When I got there we just drank and shot the breeze. He left me with a key to his place so I was free to come an go the next day, which was incredibly trusting and thoughtful of him. It scared me a little bit that he was putting that much trust in a couchsurfer, but at the same time he was a pretty decent judge of character and pretty perceptive- he was a cop when he was young after all. We didn’t get to spend too much time together because he was at work a good portion of my stay, but it was fun when we did. We went down to the Riverwalk and out for dinner. I really expected an eat-dinner-and-immediately-go-home sort of situation, but he surprised me when he went barhopping with me afterwards like he was still in his prime. He suggested I jump into the river. I’m almost certain he was serious. I went to the McNay art museum (as seen in previous posts) and a lovely forested park there in town too…during the rainstorm. It was great.
Such a good time here. I stayed with Rob who was a very talented musician and sound tech. He attempted to play some music for me, but he had broken his keyboard by dropping it earlier that day. We waited for his friend Rebecca to get to the house and when she did we all went to the grocery store to get the makings for a mexican feast. The car ride there was full of talking and laughter. I love couchsurfing for that reason- you’re more or less instant friends with your host and it can feel like you’ve known them for ages. That’s a magic I haven’t seen anywhere else. I watched my mother for years make spanish rice, but only knew the vague steps, not the exact technique involved in making it. Rob showed me the proper way and it turned out just like I remember. We enjoyed the meal (delicious) with some sangria and the ambiance of a Texas-sized rainstorm outside through an open patio door. It was sublime. The thunder scared the shit out of all of us after one very close lightning strike, but Rob the most. He fell off the couch. Ha. I was standing on the patio watching the storm and just decided to go out in it. Rob and Rebecca were right on my heels. We played like kids in the rain. We raced and splashed and slid on the grass. The rain was heavy so we were soaked to the bone from the moment we stepped out. It was so fun and freeing.
I arrived late here because I thought it would be a good idea to lock my keys in my trunk, rather my scattered mind did. I waited for AAA for an hour and was saved. My host hadn’t expected me due to my last minute request, so she forewarned me that they were celebrating a friends graduation. I met them at an irish pub called Fenians and got a warm welcome. Met a lot of people, had a lot of conversations, but it got boring as it got more crowded. I met a friend there named Jimmy who comes back into the story later. He was from Birmingham and told me to meet him up there when I went. After we were all thoroughly bored with the pub, we headed out to a blues club downtown or somewhere called F Jones Corner. Man. So glad we went. I love the blues and the band was phenomenal. Me and another friend I met at the pub (Billy Joel, no joke) watched the band with Alexis, my host. They played one of my favorite songs by Hendrix, Born Under a Bad Sign, perfectly. Note for note and with the rhythm and passion of the man himself. They were a cool bunch and I got to chat with them a little. We danced on stage and in front of the stage awhile and the band gave me a “welcome to Mississippi” shout out.
Outside of F Jones.
Inside of F Jones.
My host Alexis(left) and other CSers at brunch before I left.
Got in at night during a terrible rainstorm. The rain has really been following me this entire trip. It was so heavy I could barely see on the freeway and let me tell you, it was terrifying. Being in an unfamiliar area while being blinded by rain is not an ideal at all. Aside from that, getting around in Birmingham can be confusing as hell and the infrastructure can compound your frustrations. That aside, I made it safe. My host was another exemplary cs host and I got settled in fast. We ate ice cream and talked about a myriad of things. She had great pets with even greater names! There was a cat named Dorian Not So Gray, Admiral Catsby, and General Brody de Longdog (dachshund). I loved them all. She was also at work a majority of the time, so we didn’t spend too much time together. Birmingham is an interesting place. It seems like 50% of the downtown buildings are abandoned and not in use. From what I hear, its really being rejuvenated now, but man. Its sad. That town has so much history as well that was very cool to learn about though the subject matter was often not so cool. One night I was there, I met up with Jimmy (whom I met in Jackson) and his boyfriend Jacob at their place. They invited me in in the best way possible (with whiskey) and we had such a great conversation. Their neighbor Sloan(sp?) joined us and we headed over to a relatively new restaurant called El Barrio and had a great dinner with lots of laughs. Afterwards, they took me up to a lookout point over the city and it was one of those out-of-the-movie moments, us all just staring out at the city and the skyline, taking it all in.
Left to right, Jimmy, Jacob, and Sloan(sp?)
The all of us. Loved this night.